01/23/2009 12:00AM

Letters to the Editor


In troubled times, sport can't neglect horses who are done racing

It is widely written that horse racing is in trouble, at an all-time low as to public perception. Even as many individuals, organizations, and leaders discuss everything from length of whips to medication, one of the largest problems of these times - if not the largest - is the abundance of racehorses in this country combined with frightening economic conditions.

Broodmares are being euthanized, horses are being turned loose, sales have horses who bring zero bidding, and retirement facilities are full. We are overflowing with horses who no longer have the availability of life after racing.

In these times, I am greatly bothered by my own involvement, and am reevaluating my own goals in any way using horses for my personal goals. All owners and breeders need to take a hard look at their own involvement and responsibilities towards their horses, being mindful of their post-racing well-being.

The Jan. 15 Racing Form article "Gill gets back in the thick of things" told of owner Michael Gill's quest to break the national record for races won. As I wish Mr. Gill well in his renewed involvement in the sport, I am hopeful he, along with all of us in this business, extends his interests in horses beyond profitability on the racetrack. Never has it been harder to find homes for horses, or to raise money for the facilities that serve this purpose. Giving back to retirement centers - being mindful of what we all do with our horses after racing - must stay tantamount in our thoughts.

There are so many people out there quietly rescuing horses from slaughter pens, seeing the horrors as horses leave racetracks and go to a brutal and sad end to their lives. There are so many trying to raise money to just save horses. Retirement centers are full, the backyards of good folks are full, and thousands of horses are up for adoption with little placement possible.

We seemingly continue not to keep the discussion alive about the decent and dignified placement and remedies for just too many racehorses, without examining our own involvement in ownership or breeding.

We are overrun with horses in this country, and it is reaching proportions of enormous sadness. Now, more then ever, giving back to the horses in their lives after racing is at a crucial and important point, Therefore, as tracks, breeders, owners, and all involved with racing face the toughest of economic times, we all must stay mindful that it is the horses themselves who allow us to participate.

We must try and unite to stay not only profitable and viable but mindful of our own responsibilities.

Maggi Moss - Des Moines, Iowa